Female Fitness, Diet and your HORMONES!

There appears to be a current trend where so many females that use the gym and lift feel they have to look 'shredded', 'toned' or 'cut' every single day! 

Let me just get this one cleared up... The women we see in magazine photoshoots, Instagram, Facebook or on stage at body building events cannot and will not look like this every day! They have 'dried out' to get that look and once they have performed on stage they re-hydrate and get back on those carbs they have restricted themselves of for so long and we wont see a photo of them for a while. 

Now, slight change of subject... let me explain why we need to be cautious about cutting calories too much whilst training six or even seven days a week. It may seem the simplest way to go for most women and lets be honest, it can work for some (short term) but no matter who you are, it does catch up with you and the damage it can do to your hormones must not be ignored nor neglected. 

When you over-train, not eat enough or binge/ fast and don't recover properly your body perceives this as STRESS and in order for your body to protect itself your body begins to shut down and 'burn up' your hormones. Estrogen is the first hormone to become affected due to the hypothalamus in the brain becoming suppressed and as a consequence the ovaries either slow down by causing irregular menstrual periods or cease completely. 

Now, when the ovaries become affected, the adrenals which produce hormones (sex and cortisol hormones) start to take over which then has the potential to affect DHEA production. When there is low DHEA production this can affect sex drive, fatigue, gym performance and loss of muscle tone. It can also cause dry skin and dry eyes. 

Eventually this filters in to androgens (which are hormones that play a role in puberty, pubic and underarm hair and even regulate the function of many organs). So when you then try to lose weight, tone up or reach a personal goal and you are struggling to build muscle and burn fat the lack of estrogen and being androgen dominant  will more likely cause a gain in fat and water rather than muscle and people will convince themselves that it is muscle because they have been working so hard in the gym.

Living like this constantly, in a constant state of exercising and undereating will only train your body into disease. This high amount of stress upon the body will place the body in a constant dopamine surge - continually in fight or flight mode, so the body is never out of a sympathetic state. Your immune system will be triggered leading to all sorts of health complications. The idea of exercising should be because you want to improve your health NOT to create more problems.

No Testosterone = No Muscle Building

No Testosterone & No Estrogen = No Sex Drive

No Progesterone & No Estrogen = Anxiety

In females, low estrogen levels can cause many more health complications than you might know about! Females need at least 12% body fat to keep health at an optimal level. This shall be discussed more in depth in our next article - Stay Tuned!

So be careful YOU don't create a 'positive addiction' where you are living every day in a negative calorie deficit and exercising hard every day. Your body has the ability to allow you to live your life to the max! So... feed it and keep it strong. When you're 70 you want to be able to walk a mountain right? Keep it strong now to avoid premature weak joints and muscles as you age.

This isn't to say exercise is bad - exercise is amazing for the body!

  •  When there is good planning and execution, you can avoid causing problems and over-exertion and live in a body that thrives. Physical activity is great for everybody no matter of age or ability. 
  • Exercise should be part of your life not based upon it, so eat well and eat enough, exercise frequently but don't over-do it and lastly allow your body to recover.

  • Live a happy, active and stress free life as much as you can.

Insure4Sport Personal Trainer Insurance